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Graphic Design Jobs in Japan

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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question,
please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

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Graphic Design Jobs in Japan 2004/8/12 19:23
Hi! I don't know if this is o.k. for me to ask a question here because I am Japanese. But I thought I should try anyway...
I am planning to go back to Japan after I've stayed in the U.S. for 14 years. I have worked for only American companies as a graphic designer for 7 years in English environment and have no experience in designing in Japanese. I only do print and don't do web design.
Is it going to be heard for me to find a job when I go back? I would like to continue designing in English if possible. I have a bachelor's degree in Management.
by Japanese girl in LA  

Strength in Numbers 2004/9/9 04:50
It sounds like you and I have the same thing in mind. Except you have an advantage of being Japanese and knowing the language. I have wanted to work and live in Japan for some time but the only problem is that I have a degree in Graphic Design. I would love to design in japanese but I do not understand the langauage well. I am looking for options as yourself and the only thing I can suggest is that we combine resources if we can. If I see anythign out there I will let you know and please if you discover somethign yourself. Please do not be shy. Good Luck
by Jeff Dominguez rate this post as useful

and that makes three of us!!! 2004/10/13 13:01
You, guys, I'm also a Graphic Designer looking for job here in Tokyo!
My special interest and background is Illustration (I usually illustrate children's books and stuff connected, textbooks, posters and so on), but I would love to work as well in designing, since I am also experienced in that too.

Just have no idea how to start looking, since usually the sites I've run into so far are stuffed with IT engineering job openings...
and it's so weird, in this country, where every li'l thing is nicely packed and advertised, ain't it?

Well, the idea is that I am looking, and count me in for sharing infos with ya regarding what's puzzling us for the moment! : D

by ana rate this post as useful

I have the same dilemma 2004/10/22 07:57
Hello, I too am a designer and actually do work for various companies in the surf,skate,snow industry (O'neill, BROG, Quicksilver, SPY, & Lost Boards to name a few.) I am in the same dilemma in which my goal is to live and work in Japan in my special field. I have many friends overseas and many in Japan that I've met through work. Yes, it is difficult to find work there, when you're NOT there. So, I have decided to put 2 goals together to meet one. Form my own business and have trade in Japan. Since most of what I do can be produced in China for very cheap (starting Jan.1, 2005), this is a route I chose. If you are interested in joining the team (so far 3 of us), please let me know. My contacts and friends are in full support. Process of samples, designs, registration, and web are all go! I have a rep in Switzterland, Japan, Germany, and many in the U.S. I know many of us are having difficult times, but when many come together and for a positive cause... we have a much better chance for success. So please feel free to email me if you're interested.

by John Tagle aka; Fose1 rate this post as useful

Forgot email - 2004/10/22 07:58
For the above post, please email at taglejohn@hotmail.com
by John Tagle aka; Fose1 rate this post as useful

in reply 2004/11/14 13:54
Hello this in reply to your message on the japan guide re graphic design.
I had lived in Japan for five years but now just go to Japan each winter for three to four months.
I have just started up a new business organizing snow board tours etc for the Japanese in New Zealand as thats where I am from.
I am only a small business with not much profits yet, and I am looking for some one who can help make my brochures and maybe design some new stuff for my web page.
If you can please have a look at my home page and return an email.
Home page www.wanaka-house.co.nz
email mathewchristmann@yahoo.com
by Mat rate this post as useful

im there too... 2004/12/30 07:41
man i thought i was alone until i read this post...i wish to do a job in any anime company as a charecter designer or illustrator for that matter...im really good at anime...no really check out my work at nitrolux@fotki.com...
ohh i still have another year before i graduate form my Computer science degree...then ill go to japan and take up animation studies.
by Ent rate this post as useful

yet another ... 2004/12/30 09:02
We should form some sort of union ;-)

I'm a 3d-illustrator from Denmark,visualizing architecture and design. I.ve been around for about 8 years, but seeks knew landmarks.

by tfwo rate this post as useful

i dont see whay not... 2004/12/31 05:24
in answer to tfwo i think we have an interesting thing going on here. How about we come up with our own little online animation endeavour??
by Ent rate this post as useful

In response to first question 2005/1/2 12:57
I'm a graphic designer, too, in California, and recently decided to move to Japan for a year or two (or more). I have experience in print design and photo shoot direction, but not in web design (but plan to learn soon).

I can speak conversational Japanese, but want to improve, and this is one of the reasons for wanting to go.

I've been told that the best thing to do is to look for American or European companies with offices in Japan, but I don't know how to start doing this. Any suggestions/responses?

by Del rate this post as useful

Going back... 2005/1/3 00:13
Hello, another [print] designer here..! This time from London. I graduated with a BA back in '99, and worked in Japan as a designer for a short time in '01. I was just lucky that someone was recruiting when I was looking, and it seemed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am back in the UK now and working as an in-house design manager.

A few UK designers that I have met in London over the years have had links with Japan, the most well known being Pete Fowler [I remember him doing the visuals for 'Mukatsuku' in Soho, London late 90's I still have one of his early Mukatsuku stickers on my BMX from when we were at the Tactical Bar on Sundays!]. I digress - although the point was that they had links with Japanese sub-culture when they began in there own countries. I think that helps.

From my own experience of being over there, Japanese language is a huge bonus. Where I was working I was the only person in an office of 50% western who couldn't speak/read/write Japanese. Apart from the odd bit to get by. Once in Japan it is easier to find other design jobs, although again the language barrier can hold you back. I was able to get an interview at a Tokyo design associates on the strength of my portfolio, but they said language was an issue we had to embrace.

Well, now I am married and my wife is Japanese. We live just outside London, but our aim is to move back to Japan by 2010. This means that I will be joining you guys in the relatively small community of western designers in Japan. Now I am looking for relevant sites... if I find any I'll post them here. Every little helps. Good luck everyone!

by Gareth rate this post as useful

I haven't even bursted into the biz... 2005/1/7 15:22
I regret that I'm unable to answer the question, but I've got the same wish. I am hoping that I'll be able to work in Japan as a graphic/communication (however you would like to phrase it) designer, yet I still have college to finish. Well, I actually have the college admissions process to finish.

For the time being, I'm learning as much as I can along with information about graphic design in Japan. I'll be observing this thread in hopes that more advice will pour in.

I started learning Japanese about one year ago, but the self-education has been sporadic and eventually, before my 4+ years of college are up, I intend to take a suitable course for guidance.

Yeah, my plans could change soon, but for now, I'm doing what I can to prepare. Perhaps someone will have advice at hand for what could be done at college and later.

by Immagnia rate this post as useful

In response to Immagnia's post 2005/1/7 16:00
Hi Immagnia,

So I think it's great that you're doing research and finding out as much as you can. I've only been a designer for a couple years, but I'm older than most new designers, so I figure I'll have to work extra hard at this.

I read an article about a foreigner who was interning at a Japanese graphic design firm. It went on to say that eventually, she could go on to an apprenticeship there. This was in a newsletter that regularly publishes info about non-Japanese who working in Japan, so I think it was a reliable source.

Also, according to my Japanese friends and other sources, I hear that young people are preferred over older in the whole hiring process, so this may work to your advantage.

Maybe research companies that take on interns or assistants? Then again, I don't know how much they would pay or if any at all...

by Del rate this post as useful

Thank You 2005/1/8 13:36
Your help is inspiring. Every few months I come across some opinion of Japan that makes me question whether or not I'll even survive there. (Recently, it's been an opinion of it's economy and "Old Boy's Network" in business.)

If I didn't research that much, I would have long ago decided that good ol' Nihon wasn't for me. Having more than one outlook on this situation has motivated me, and I'm glad that there is precedence of young designers still having a chance to find work in Japan.

And also, one of my college choices has a Korean study abroad course. I'm not sure of how the Japanese view Koreans or vice versa, but would it be a stretch to find opportunities in Japan through any Korean contacts I make?

Thanks for the help dude!
(I don't want to get too far off topic, so if I am just email me at psychomachia@gmail.com)

by Immagnia rate this post as useful

well, maybe I'm not alone after all... 2005/1/11 12:21
hi everybody

hi ana, I got the same background like you, illustration, I also do children book, mural works, etc. back then I did advertising storyboard and print-ad illustration. I really would like to work and apply my skill abroad, because where I live which is Jakarta , Indonesia, illustration skill isn't appreciated. mostly care about how cheap can you go, not as how good and professional can you go. I'm also thinking about working in japan coz they do many illustration stuff there, including children books. but, I'm also interested in making union, or maybe even start our own agency somwhere, I dunno. well, maybe you can check my portfolio, and who knows, if they click, and you need illustrator or got illustration project, we can work together. if you're interested, please mail me to: staven_andersen@yahoo.com
well, I'm looking forward for some cooperation or such:) thanks!

by staven andersen rate this post as useful

You are definitely not alone... 2005/1/27 21:30
Designers Unite!!
Seriously, I'm amazed at how many of us are in the same boat. I have a degree in Graphic Design(but no exp.) and have been looking for a way to break into the biz here in Japan. I'm also very interested in animation, comics, and illustration. If anybody wants to get some things together I would say we have more than enough people to form a united front and take Japan by storm. I'm glad I found this forum. And thanks for sharing your info. Peace
by Frozone rate this post as useful

difficult for foreigners? 2005/1/28 00:19
I also have been looking into moving to Japan and working in a career somewhere along the lines of graphic design, animation, comics...etc. The only problem is if you're not a Japanese native then that'll be quite difficult. I guess to better your chances of breaking into the industry is to be completley fluent in both the written and spoken language of Japanese.
by S.L. rate this post as useful

a link I forgot to post 2005/1/28 00:28
...kind of disappointing information on working in Japan.
Click here: Visas
by S.L. rate this post as useful

Graphic Designer 2005/1/31 17:38
I am interested in your advertisement, and you may find the following
information useful. I look forward to your response.
Typing/Copy-Edit/Architects (tool designing)/Graphic Designing I
have 5 year experience in graphic field, I have been worked mostly for
Graphic designing,

I am working mostly on Coral 9.0, 11 & Photoshope 7.0 , and most of my work is
completed inside coral. I would therefore be looking for similar work.

Now I looking the job in Graphic field because i want to do job in any
organization and where I grow with organization. I have 5 year experience in
this field.
I also design the tool in AutoCAD because I have 3 months experience in
AutoCAD designing.

by Deepak kumar rate this post as useful

The same problem =) 2005/2/5 17:23
Hi to all!

How are you? I'm glad i found this forum! I'm having the same wish as you. I'm from Lithuania, 23 years old. I've been illustrating and designing magazines for children, posters, newspapers and so on for almost 2 years and i'm searching for such kind of job in Japan. I do print (Photoshop, Corel, Pagemaker) and web design (html, css, flash), but my interest is illustration and print designing. This June i'll get a master's degree in informatics. I adore manga and anime, so i've been studying to draw in manga style about 8 years ago by mysefl.
I heard there are foreign companies in Japan were foregn designers make non-japanese journals. I started studying Japanese this month - i'm very motivated to learn it - Japanese language is a big bonus.
I'll be glad to share info with you if i find anything useful. And also interested in making some kind of union too.
Good fortune for everyone!
If you're interested/have suggesions or would like to check my portfolio, please mail me to: djgiedra@yahoo.com

by inidza rate this post as useful

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